First look: Ricky Bobby Sports Saloon & Restaurant

Posted 7:10am on Monday, Aug. 05, 2013

NASCAR fans who live in DFW or come to the Metroplex for the race action up at Texas Motor Speedway will meet their nirvana when they discover the brand new Ricky Bobby Sports Saloon & Restaurant in Fort Worth. Like the Vee Lounge in downtown Fort Worth and Bombshells Restaurant & Bar in Dallas, this new spot is owned by Rick’s Cabaret International, Inc.

Fans of the 2006 comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby starring Will Farrell and John C. Reilly will be hard pressed not to crack a smile when met with the classic line: "If you're not first..." but the sports-themed eatery is not affiliated with the movie. Sports fans who are not necessarily NASCAR fans need not worry; there are over 50 high-definition screens dedicated to showing every possible sporting event.

There are two full service bars and the 3,000 square-foot outdoor patio includes fire pits, fountains and a stage for live music performances. The waitresses, clad in specially designed uniforms, are known as the Smokin' Hotties.

“We have traditional items with a Ricky Bobby flair, such as our Mac ‘n Cheese Bacon Burger, Crazy Corn, funnel cake," and, says restaurant consultant David Simmons, "the largest chicken fried steak in Texas. And forget the potato skins; you’ve got to try the jalapeno skins, stuffed with cream cheese.”

Other food items include the Petty's Patty Melt, Juan Pablo's En Fuego Burger and the "Intimidator Challenge." The latter is $29.95 and features a bun, a half-pound burger patty, two slices of pepper jack cheese, a half-pound of pulled pork covered with BBQ sauce, two fried chicken tenders, three strips of bacon, a smoked sausage, an onion ring and a chicken wing on top for good luck. It also comes with a pound of chili cheese fries and a salad with choice of dressing. Anyone who can scarf all of that down in 10 minutes will get their picture on the Wall of Fame and receive a coveted Ricky Bobby trucker's hat.

Since my first visit was on opening night when there was over an hour wait -- we got lucky and grabbed two seats at the end of the bar -- I played it safe with Rusty's Chicken Tenders. I was pleasantly surprised at how efficient everything ran considering the huge crowd both inside and out on the patio.

With the similarly-themed Redneck Heaven only a few exits east on Loop 820, it will be interesting to see how much of a dent the Ricky Bobby Sports Saloon puts in its direct competition, especially on weekends with a race a few miles north on I-35W at TMS.

RICKY BOBBY SPORTS SALOON & RESTAURANT 2200 NE LOOP 820 FORT WORTH, TX 76106 (817) 624-3759

FOLLOW JAY BETSILL ON TWITTER @THEFAMOUSJAY

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